This stuff is too easy not to use

[cross-posted at the TechLearning blog]


I talked my department chair into letting me do a 10–minute technology demonstration to my faculty colleagues at each of our monthly department meetings. My last one was titled ‘Fun With Audio.’ It went something like this…

Hi everyone. You know how you open up your word processor software, type some stuff, and then hit Save and your file’s somewhere on your hard drive? Let’s take that same thought and extend it to audio…

[open up Audacity with the LAME MP3 encoder already installed]

This is audio software. It’s like your word processor but for voice.

[hold up tabletop mic]

This is a microphone. $30 at Best Buy. I plug it in here and I’m ready to go. I click on this record button, start talking [blah blah blah], hit stop when I’m done. Voila! A sound file!

[play back file]

What can I do with this? Well, I don’t know about you but I can talk faster than I can type. So maybe I’d like to send a message to my class…

[demonstrate a quick voice memo to students - blah blah blah]

Click on Export as MP3, put the file where I want it, and send it as an e-mail attachment. Ta da! I’ve just freed up 20 minutes of my day. What else might we do with this?

[talk about voice instructions for online course management systems, sending voice e-mails instead of text e-mails, doing interviews for research studies, interviewing local experts for department web site, etc.]

[expand my faculty colleagues’ horizon by quickly mentioning Skype and the ability to record long-distance phone calls for free; offer to help anyone install Audacity and get up and running; drop a hint that I’m going to do a hands-on podcasting clinic in the spring]

Done! Thank you very much!

[next month: YouTube QuickCapture!]

This stuff is getting too easy not to use. Faculty members in colleges of education don’t tend to be very tech-savvy. With the right approach, however, we can get them using, and thus exposing future educators to, these tools. My audio demonstration took about eight minutes, I never mentioned the word ‘podcast,’ and I had a ton of questions and interest at the end.

We can do this. Share the love, share your knowledge: adopt a professor today.

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